Saturday, December 10, 2016

Kuchar, English pull ahead at Franklin Templeton Shootout

NAPLES, Florida -- Here are a few observations following the second round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort where Harris English and Matt Kuchar claimed a one-stroke lead with a 6-under 66 in the modified alternate-shot format and lead by one heading into the final round over the team of Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly. 
Who would've thought a Georgia Bulldog and a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket would get along so famously as a team. Harris English, the proud Bulldog, and Matt Kuchar, the Yellow Jacket grad, are now a combined 114 under par in their last 11 rounds in this event.
The bogey-free, 6-under 66 in the modified alternate shot format on a breezy, overcast day may have been their best effort yet. Under the rules of the format, each player hit a drive on every hole. The player whose drive wasn't selected had to hit the second shot and then they alternated shots until the ball was holed. It didn't hurt the leaders that English bombed drives 30 yards past fellow competitor Steve Stricker to set up Kuchar's strong iron play.
"He was 50 yards past me," Jerry Kelly, Stricker's partner, said.
"There's just a lot of offense on that team," Stricker said.
So how have English and Kuchar, standouts from rival schools, come together to perform as one? "It's a unique pairing that way and there's a decent rivalry, but I think both of us look at it as more respecting each other's game," Kuchar said. "We have very similar laid back, easygoing personalities. Just kind of we let that bit slide and just try to play some good golf together."
They made it look easy early, making birdie on six of their first 11 holes to open a four-stroke lead before closing with seven straight pars and finishing at 21-under 123.
Since joining forces in 2013, English and Kuchar have a victory and runner-up finishes the past two years. "Nice to have a one-shot lead," Kuchar said, "but that's no great cushion against guys like (Stricker-Kelly) that can really do some scoring."
It wasn't as pretty as their first-round performance but Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker rallied with four birdies on their closing nine holes to shoot a 4-under 68 in the modified alternate shot format.
"This is really the tougher format mentally," Kelly said. "I was very shaky at the start. I just didn't have the swing as much as I normally do."


Russell Knox has an off-season practice regimen that doesn't involve his golf clubs. The 31-year-old Scot says he intends to learn to speak Spanish, and for good reason. His wife, Andrea, was born in Colombia, and is fluent.
"I'm fed up with her complaining that I don't speak the language," Knox said with a smile.
Knox said he can understand the basics, but wants to be able to converse in Spanish with his wife. He's still determining how he will go about doing that, be it audio tapes such as Rosetta Stone or an instructor.
"If I dedicate myself I think I can pick it up pretty quickly," he said. "But for the last eight years I've said I'm going to workout and just look at me and you know how well that's gone."

par 72
1Harris English and Matt Kuchar-2118-15-6123
2Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker-2018-16-4122
T3Charles Howell III and Rory Sabbatini-1618-13-3128
T3Kevin Chappell and Kevin Kisner-1618-12-4128
T5Charley Hoffman & Billy Horschel-1518-11-4129
T5Smylie Kaufman & Justin Thomas-1518-9-6129
7Jason Dufner & Brandt Snedeker-1418-12-2130
T8Sean O’Hair & Kenny Perry-1318-9-4131
T8Luke Donald and Russell Knox-1318-12-1131
10Bryson DeChambeau and Lexi Thompson-1118-10-1133
11Daniel Berger and K.J. Choi-1018-9-1134
12Mike Weir and Gary Woodland-818-91136
Last Updated: December 9, 2016, 4:58 pm EST
First Round, Scramble - Each player hits a drive on every hole and the best drive is selected. Each player then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected drive lays, and the best second shot is selected. This process is repeated until the hole is completed.

Second Round, Modified Alternate Shot - Each player hits a drive on every hole and one drive is selected. The player whose drive is NOT selected hits the second shot, and they alternate shots until the ball is holed.

Final Round, Better Ball - Each player plays through every hole using his own ball. The player whose score is the lowest on each hole will be the team score for that hole.



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